Travel Guide – Best Chiang Mai Scooter Rental + Beginner Tips (aka Noob Guide)

We cover the basics: Who's The Best Chiang Mai Bike / Scooter Rental Service? Which Scooter? Beginner Rider Tips & More.

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Beginner Scooter Rider

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I’ve named this Digital Tourist Guide to Renting a Scooter in Chiang Mai… ‘Noob Edition’ ?

Well that’s because if you’ve been travelling for a while, or you’ve rented scooters before, then this guide isn’t for you. It’s for first-time riders or those who haven’t driven a scooter in Thailand before.

Unless… you’re just looking for the best scooter rental companies in Chiang Mai for travellers? If so, then you’re in luck! Check them out below.

While a lot of the advice & tips in this guide will apply to all of Thailand, I’m focussing on Chiang Mai as this is where I’ve done the majority of my scooter riding.

If you get the chance to visit Pai, I highly recommend learning the basics there. Traffic is minimal and the roads are wide making them suitable for beginners.

Side Note: I used a push-bike and then an electric bike in Chiang Mai for many months before switching to a Honda Click 125i. This helped me to understand how the traffic flows as well as know my way around the city. If it’s your first time in Chiang Mai & on a scooter, be very careful and avoid rush hours (7-9am & 4-8pm).

What this guide will cover:

  • The Best Chiang Mai Scooter Rental Shops For Foreigners
    • Scooters / Motorbikes Stocked
    • Documents Needed
    • Deposit Needed
    • Location / Contact
  • Best Beginner Scooters / Motorbikes
  • When & Where To Practise Your Riding
  • Is it safe to ride a scooter in Chiang Mai?
  • Riding Safety Tips
  • The Legalities Of Driving A Scooter In Thailand
    • Medical Insurance
    • Police Checkpoints

more Chiang Mai GUIDES & TIPS


The Best Chiang Mai Scooter Rental Shops For Tourists & Travellers

Note: I’m NOT affiliated in any way to any of the companies below. These companies have been selected based on positive feedback from renters.

Chloe Motobike Rental Chiang Mai

Chloe Motorbike Rentals

Chloe’s Motorbike Rentals has great feedback both on Facebook & Google. I contacted them to rent a scooter in Chiang Mai, but due to popularity they only had a Fino left.

They are very responsive on Facebook and will send you pictures of the actual scooter or motorbike via messenger. They also stock some larger bikes, but I’ve left them off this Noob guide.

Don’t forget to check out the seat height of the scooters further down. You’ll feel a lot more confident as a beginner if you can firmly plant both feet on the ground.

Bikes Stocked:

  • Honda: Click, ZoomerX, Scoopy, Moove
  • Yamaha: Fino, Mio, Filano, GT, QBix

Deposit

  • No Deposit Needed

Documents Needed

  • Passport Copy
  • or Thai Driving License

Other

  • Minimal Rental 1 Month
  • Pickup & Dropoff available.
  • Helmet included.

Contact Details

Deer Bike Rental Thailand

Deer Bike Thailand

Deer Bike offers affordable bikes & scooters for medium to long-term expats in Chiang Mai. The bikes are well-maintained by Gwang & Joe, and if you ask nicely, they’ll even a phone holder to your scooter, which is super useful.

Price-wise, the monthly rates start at 1800 in low season and 2000 per month in high season.

You can reach them via their Facebook page to check which bikes they currently have available. Mention us @ ‘Digital Tourist’ for extra special prices :D .

Bikes Stocked:

  • Honda: Click 125 & Click 110, ZoomerX, Scoopy, Moove
  • Yamaha: GT, Mio 125 & 110

Deposit

  • No Deposit Needed

Documents Needed

  • Passport Copy

Other

  • Minimal Rental 1 Month
  • Pickup & Dropoff available.
  • 2x Helmet included (Half & Full Face)
  • No charge for cosmetic damages and scratches.

Contact Details

Mango Bikes Rental Chiang Mai

Mango Bikes Rent

Mango Bikes has been renting scooters since 2012 and even used to offer lessons for beginner riders. While they don’t offer this service any-more, if you want some basic training you can head to the Honda Driving Safety School.

With Mango Bikes, you’re in good hands as they have over a Google Review Score of 4.8 after 500 reviews. Not bad! I popped in during peak season, and the staff speak good English. You can request certain bikes and get them to message on FB when they become available.

They have a large selection of scooters to choose from and are in an easy location to reach in Nimman.

Make sure to have some riding experience, as Mango changed their policy on renting to complete beginners. Luckily, you can exit through Sritana 2 from Mango Bikes to access the quieter Nimman Soi’s while getting used to your new bike.

Bikes Stocked:

  • Honda: Click, Spacey
  • Yamaha: Fino, Mio, Filano, GT, QBix, Nouvo

Deposit

  • 1000 Baht Deposit

Documents Needed

  • Passport Copy
  • or Thai Driving License Copy

Other

  • No First Time Riders
  • Minimal Rental 1 Day
  • Pickup available.
  • Helmet included.

Contact Details

Zippy Motorbike Rentals Chiang Mai

Zippy Motorbikes

The polite lady in the office didn’t speak much English when I visited, but the process to rent a scooter from Zippy is quick & efficient. You can message on Facebook to see what stock they have available or just turn up.

Side Note: I’m not sure the logo for Zippy Bikes gives off the best impression XD. Farang guy zooming on a Vespa without a helmet…

With an almost perfect feedback score on Google & Facebook, you’re in good hands with Zippy. They also have a garage next door to the rental shop where they’ll perform regular maintenance.

I’ve rented a Mio from here which had squeaky breaks due to water in the drum brake. They quickly swapped this bike to another hassle-free.

Bikes Stocked:

  • Honda: Click, Spacey
  • Yamaha: Fino, Mio, Filano, GT, QBix, Nouvo

Deposit

  • No Deposit Needed

Documents Needed

  • Passport Copy
  • or Thai Driving License Copy

Other

  • Minimal Rental 1 Day
  • Helmet included.

Contact Details

Cheap Charlies Rentals

If you’ve seen the Yamaha Tricity, and thought heck, I’d love to give that bike a try. Then send a message to Chotip @ Cheap Charlie Rentals and they are renting the Tricity for only 3850 per month.

The unique two wheels at the front (3 wheels overall) of this scooter offer much more stability than a tradition two-wheeled scooter.

Cheap Charlie Rentals also offers fantastic monthly prices with Clicks & Scoopys as low as 1900 baht per month.

Bikes Stocked:

  • Honda: Click, Scoopy
  • Yamaha: Filano, GT, Tricity (Beginner Friendly), Aerox

Deposit

  • None

Documents Needed

  • None

Other

  • Minimal Rental 1 Month
  • Pickup & Dropoff available.
  • Helmet included.

Contact Details

Cheap Charlies Rentals

Vanessa Motorbikes

Vanessa’s is another good option for tourists, offering both short and long term scooter letting with a lot of Scoopy stock, which is great for beginners.

The team are responsive on Facebook, but often sell out fast during peak season due to the competitive monthly pricing.

Note: I’ve tried a couple of Click 125i’s from Vanessa. Both had 45k+ miles and felt/sounded a little rough around the edges.

Bikes Stocked:

  • Honda: Click, Scoopy, ZoomerX
  • Yamaha: Mio

Deposit

  • 2000 Baht Or Passport

Documents Needed

  • Passport Copy
  • or Thai Driving License Copy

Other

  • Minimal Rental 1 Day
  • Free Delivery for Rental 2 weeks+
  • Helmet included.

Contact Details

Disclaimer: I’m sure there are plenty of other great scooter rental services in Chiang Mai. The businesses listed above have been verified with hundreds of positive reviews and tailor themselves towards travellers & tourists.

Feel free to comment at the end with any great scooter rental shops that I’ve missed.

Honda Click and Honda Zoomer Scooter

Best Scooters / Motorbikes For Beginners

Okay, so while you might be thinking that you want a big motorbike or a semi-automatic, you’re probably wrong. Just remember, you’re a complete noob right, so start off slow on an automatic with a max engine size of 125cc.

Trust me, on your first few rides, your brain will be going into overdrive having to think about the traffic in front, mirrors, indicators and balancing a 100kg bike at the same time.

As a beginner, you’ll feel much safer is you can firmly plant both your feet down when coming to a stop.

So I recommend getting yourself to the rental shops and planting your ass firmly in a few scooter seats. Kick the stand up and see how you feel.

I started with a Honda ZoomerX in Pai which has a low seat, fat tyres and a subtle acceleration. Great for beginners as it’s very forgiving.

I then picked a Yamaha Mio, which was great to ride with a low seat, I’m 175cm, but I couldn’t get uses to having the beep right underneath the indicator. So I then switched to a Honda Click with a higher seat but I can still tippy-toe both feet without unintentionally beeping at each corner.

Common scooters in Thailand that are 125cc or under and automatic are:

Honda

  • Honda Click 125 / 125i (LED)

    • Seat Height: 76.5 cm
    • A great option if you’re looking to ride longer trips. Clicks can handle the steep roads of Doi Suthep and also longer trips to Pai more easily than 110 options.
  • Honda ZoomerX 110
    • Seat Height: 74 cm
    • (*Great for beginners: Low seat height, low centre of gravity and large tyres).
    • This is the most common scooter in Pai.
  • Honda Scoopy 110i
    • Seat Height: 74.5 cm
    • Easy Handling for beginners.
  • Honda Spacey 110
    • Seat Height: 76 cm
    • Lots of under seat room.
  • Honda Moove 110
    • Seat Height: 74 cm

Yamaha

  • Yamaha Fino 115
    • Seat Height: 74.5 cm
  • Yamaha Mio 125 / 110
    • Seat Height: 75 cm
    • (With a low seat height and low overall weight, it’s a great beginner bike).
  • Yamaha GT 125
    • Seat Height: 75 cm
    • With a low seat height and low overall weight, it’s a great beginner bike).
  • Yamaha Nouvo 125i
    • Seat Height: 75.5 cm
  • Yamaha QBix
    • Seat Height: 77.5 cm
    • (a newer bike that’s become popular)
  • Yamaha Grand Filano
    • Seat Height: 79 cm

Suzuki

  • Suzuki Jelato 125i

Beginner Scooter Rider

When & Where To Practise Your Riding

Quick Tip: Red & White Painted Curbs means no parking. Nimman operates Odd/Even parking based on the date. Make sure to park on the correct side of the road.

If you can’t make it to Pai in the minivan and then learn to ride a scooter when you get there, then these tips are for you.

While it may sound obvious, you should avoid the main busy roads. For your first week of riding, plan your routes in advance and avoid the Super Highway & Canal Road (locally named ‘death road’.

I saw the aftermath of a scooter crash here from the Hub53 Coworking window. It wasn’t pretty.

Drive slowly, no more than 40kmp and keep left. At this speed, you can react more easily to oncoming events. It’s normal to see locals cruising at around 30kmp on the left side of the road.

Why Keep Left? It lets traffic pass you more easily and you’re less likely to pick up oil and coolant that leaks from cars. The exception: Don’t drive close to parked cars, these doors can open unexpectedly and take you out.

Avoid riding during rush hour (7-9am & 4-8pm), unless you are travelling on small roads. Travelling around the moat road is a scary experience for noob riders. You’ll often have to navigate across multiple lanes due to the one-way structure.

During rush hour, both Nimman & Huay Kaew road are usually backed up by at least 100 metres. So unless you have to skills to weave in & out of the traffic while avoiding both the oblivious tourists and car mirrors, then save this daunting task for weeks 2 or 3 of your riding career.

So where is good for beginners to practise?

If you’re in the old town, just drive around for a few hours in the daytime or after 9. It’s quiet, the roads are wide and the pace is slow.

Comment below with your first scooter experience in Chiang Mai & where you learnt.

Motorbike Crash Symbol

Is it Safe For Beginners To Ride A Scooter in Chiang Mai?

Simply put, no.

Thailand is infamously known for being a traffic accident hotspot. If you’ve been to Thailand before, then you’ve almost certainly seen a few tourists with either huge scrapes on their legs or worse.

If you’re not confident on a bike or no have previous experience, then don’t rent a scooter in Chiang Mai or Bangkok. Save this exciting experience for the quieter islands or go to Pai.

If you’re umming… and ahh-ing… about whether to rent a scooter in Chiang Mai. Watch this video (Warning contains disturbing scenes) and you will 100% no longer want to rent a bike. Chiang Mai releases this video every year to raise road safety awareness.

But you can make it much safer! Check out my scooter safety tips below.

Motorbike Helmet

Riding Safety Tips

Riding Gear

Unless you’re living in Thailand permanently, it’s just not practical to carry full motorbike safety gear around with you.

But you can do a hell of a lot better than Flipflops, Swimshorts, a vest & a half helmet.

If the rental shop has a full helmet, pick that one! Half helmets offer no protection for you if you face-plant the tarmac. Goodbye teeth. You can pick up a full helmet online.

Wear jeans when riding, these will at least offer a small amount of skid protection. And find a cheap denim or leather jacket at one of the markets or export shops.

While this offers no impact protection, if you ever fall off, you’ll be grateful for the few layers between you and the asphalt.

Watch Out For Helmet Mirror

In Asia, it’s common practise to leave your helmet on your wing mirror. Make sure to re-adjust your mirrors each time you use your bike.

Drive Slowly

The best protection is to drive slowly, check your mirrors often and apply caution to your driving.

Disclaimer: I’m not an expert when it comes to motorbike safety. These are just tips from my personal experience. Consult an expert.

Use Your Mirrors & Check Your Blind Spot

Check your mirrors regularly so you are aware of the traffic around you. And physically look before changing lanes as there’s a common blind spot where another scooter could be.

Police Motorbike Checkpoint

The Legalities Of Driving A Scooter In Thailand & Why It Matters

While you may think that a run-in with the local police due to not having a proper international license is your main concern. It’s not.

Insurance. Insurance. Insurance.

Now you’ll need to check your individual insurance policy, but if you’re from the U.K like me, you’ll probably need a valid CRB within the last 2 years and a valid driving or motorbike license to be covered by your insurance.

Don’t have these and 99% of insurers will not pay out your hospital bills should you have a crash.

So if you are in a scooter crash and not fully licensed, I would never recommend that you say you were on the back of a taxi bike.

Please consult your insurance provider to check that you are covered.

Police Checkpoints

Okay, back to Chiang Mai Police Checkpoints.

Yes, they exist, and there are lots of them. If you don’t have the correct International Driving License, or you aren’t wearing a helmet or your passenger isn’t wearing a helmet. You will get fined.

I’ve personally been stopped on a scooter and received a fine. The police were very polite, professional and I appreciate that they are improving road safety in Chiang Mai.

Too often, you will see many locals and tourists riding around helmet-less. Don’t be this person.

Hopefully, this guide to riding a scooter is Chiang Mai was helpful. If it was, then please leave a comment below.

Also, if I’ve missed anything important off this guide, comment below and I’ll update the guide asap.

Thanks for reading!

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